Superintendent Resignation Ends Months of Controversy
Hired two years ago, Anthony Pope had been under fire for his management style and other issues since early this year.
In a move that caps months of turmoil and controversy, Superintendent Anthony Pope has resigned from his position.
Mayor Arthur Vigeant announced the resignation at the beginning of Tuesday night's School Committee meeting.
"The parties came to a mutual agreement on the terms, which will be released once they are finalized," Vigeant said. The resignation is effective July 2.
The announcement was met with hushed silence from the standing-room crowd at the meeting. Later in the meeting, Vigeant said for legal reasons the committee could not further discuss the matter.
Instructional Leadership Director Maureen Gruelich has been named acting interim superintendent while a replacement is sought.
The resignation came as the board was scheduled to discuss its evaluation of Pope's job performance over the past year and his contract. Pope is two years into a five-year contract.
It also came after months of initially quiet but more recently increasingly vocal protest from students, teachers and others at School Committe meetings, culminating with more than a dozen people calling for Pope to resign or be fired at the committee's most recent meeting, where Pope also apologized for "misunderstandings."
Pope was hired in May of 2010 and started on the job on July 1 of that year. Before coming to Marlborough, he was principal of Weymouth High School and had worked in districts in other parts of the country, including his native Texas.
His hiring was marked by optimism about positioning the district for improvement with a five-year strategic plan known as "Believe 2016," put in place shortly after his arrival.
But his tenure became strained over the past half a year. His decision to suspend and then fire Marlborough High School Adam Bakr sparked an outcry from students, who rallied on behalf of the beloved administrator.
It was while responding to the student support for Bakr that Pope thrust himself into the spotlight. In a single visit to the school, Pope was accused by students of rude behavior and by a staffer of pushing her.
That led to a court hearing and an investigation by the city solicitor. Soon afterward, the Marlborough Educators Association took a vote of no confidence in the superintendent.